FACING THE MUSIC: To Napster or Not to Napster?
Considering the relentlessness of the debates over pop music lyrics, the Napster fuss almost feels like a relief. Finally, a music industry controversy that doesn’t include a war of words between Eminem and Christina Aguilera. As opinions about Napster go, though, it’s the same old song and dance: Younger people are generally down with it, while their elders generally aren’t. In a survey by the Angus Reid Group, 61 percent of those over 35 said downloading copyrighted music “is morally wrong and should be illegal,” compared to 40 percent of those under 35. Similar results greeted the question of whether downloading copyrighted music without paying for it “is the same as stealing” (67 percent versus 43 percent). Perhaps not surprisingly, the people who do the downloading tend to give themselves more leeway. About a quarter of them say it’s morally wrong, and about the same number think it’s the same as stealing. The argument that free MP3s aren’t that bad for record companies gets some support from another survey, by Jupiter Communications, showing Napster users to be 45 percent more likely to increase their offline music spending than nonusers. Furthermore, in the Angus Reid poll, 78 percent of downloaders believe programs like Napster “will increase music sales in the long run.” Interestingly, though, almost two-thirds of the same group said their own personal music purchasing habits have not changed. A final note: Among all of the Angus Reid respondents, 73 percent agreed that “if music companies didn’t charge so much, people wouldn’t have to download music.” However, among college students polled by Greenfield Online/YouthStream Media Networks, cost doesn’t seem to be the key issue. Only 44 percent said CDs cost too much money, while 90 percent admit making homemade CDs is “in” on campus.
STRESS UPDATE: Singing the Traveling Blues
Getting to and from business meetings can involve more acrobatics than the meetings themselves. A survey by TNS Intersearch, though, suggests men and women stress out in different ways on such trips. Waiting in line, for instance, annoys half of all business travelers, but nearly twice as many men as women list it as the most stressful factor (21 percent versus 11 percent). Women, meanwhile, are bothered the most by flight and train delays, with 12 percent citing that as the most stressful factor, compared to 6 percent of men. Other notables: Women are more uptight about packing, but men worry more about keeping up with their personal lives. As the list below indicates, there’s no shortage of other places to ditch that peace of mind.
MIXED BLESSINGS: Tuning In to the Olympics, In-Law Honesty, etc.
Good news for official Olympic sponsors everywhere comes from a new Angus Reid Group poll suggesting a sizable number of TV-watching adults around the global village plan to catch at least some of the vaulting, throwing, lifting and running in Sydney next month. The survey focused on 39 countries in all, and in 38 of them at least half of the respondents said they are either “very interested” or “somewhat interested” in watching the 2000 Summer Olympics on television. The lone holdout is Portugal, where only 41 percent are interested. (After the country’s nice run through the Euro 2000 soccer tournament, people there may be a little sportsed-out.) In the U.S., 36 percent of respondents are “very interested” in watching the Games, while the same percentage are “somewhat interested.” Looking regionally, Asia averages 81 percent interest, with Japan tallying a league-leading 88 percent. North America is next with 72 percent. Eastern Europe collects the bronze with 66 percent, followed by Western Europe (65 percent) and Latin America (61 percent). The country with the highest concentration of “very interested” viewers is Uzbekistan (51 percent, versus 27 percent “somewhat interested”), followed by Brazil (48 percent vs. 20 percent), Ireland (47 percent vs. 33 percent) and Australia (46 percent vs. 32 percent). Putting things in perspective, the International Olympic Committee expects Olympic coverage will be available to 3.7 billion of the 3.9 billion people with access to television.
As a spoof of pretentious beer advertising, a new Spherion ad doesn’t hold back. The third-generation brewmaster–who makes “Fine beer brewed in a brewery,” according to the label on the bottle–includes in his smug narrative the requisite quote from his “granddaddy.” But it’s an abbreviated one thanks to a wayward combine that mows the old man down midsentence. The ad seems to say Spherion’s consultants can help even the most incompetent businesspeople get “filthy stinkin’ rich.” We might take that the wrong way if it weren’t a clever enough spoof. We don’t see a trace of ourselves here, though, so we sit back and enjoy the ribbing being dished out. The ad is from Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami.

In-laws are due for a little good press, and it may be here in the form of a survey taken by the Parent Soup Web site. Given three choices, 64 percent of respondents said they get along with their in-laws; 25 percent said they don’t; and the remaining 11 percent confessed to liking them better than their own parents. Now there’s something you don’t hear every day.

Considering the extent to which they are loved by the young ones, it’s an interesting ad strategy to take a potshot at stuffed animals. Parents who are constantly picking them up off living room floors may feel refreshed, though, by this Oakland Zoo ad. And from the zoo’s point of view, when the “real animals” are in your corner (as the tagline reminds us), there’s little reason not to decry the marketing of them as cute and cuddly playthings. Another ad in the series takes on all things PokEmon-esque with the headline “Does your child know the difference between a product of nature and a product of capitalism?” The ads are from GMO/Hill, Holliday of San Francisco.
Being told we aren’t stupid isn’t the most ringing compliment. We might be inclined to be ambivalent, then, toward the tack of Myplay’s new ads. Even if the Web service happens to be as easy to use as the squirrel is to find, we don’t necessarily like the implication that we’d be in trouble if it weren’t. (Another ad in the series shows three bunnies and a hand grenade and dares us to figure which of these is not like the other.) The company uses the brief copy to poke a little fun at itself–saying the service is so simple to use it’s “laughable.” But that raises the stakes even more. What are we to make of ourselves if we aren’t able to glide smoothly through the Web site? Odiorne Wilde Narraway & Partners, San Francisco, created the piece.